Over 50 women gathered this past Monday for a sad but uplifting cause: the support of Rebbetzin Chaya Mushka Bikur Cholim of Crown Heights’ activities on behalf of cancer patients in the community.
Due to the sensitivity of the topic, a small and intimate event was arranged and hosted in a private home. It ws dedicated to two special women who recently passed away, Mrs. Rivky Barber and Mrs. Chani Winter.
Guests were treated to a beautiful dessert buffet, individual custom made chocolate confections by Iza Berg, Ma Delicieuse, a detailed printout of Bikur Cholim’s services on behalf of the cancer patients ranging in all ages with many different diagnoses, as well as the organization’s cancer fund budget.
Three moving talks were given by Nechama Heber, mother of Rivky Barber obm, Etty Gurevitch, cousin of Chani Winter obm and Rivky Brikman, close friend of Chani. The three speakers gave repeated examples of how Bikur Cholim volunteers were like angels throughout their families challenging time.
The guest speakers shared extremely personal and heartbreaking stories of having a friend or family member struggling with cancer. The common thread throughout each of their talks was how powerful Bikur Cholim’s assistance was, primarily because no one can possibly weather such a storm alone, and also because the emotional strain is crippling—just knowing that there is an organization who’s job is it to help and who has time and again proven itself to be enormously generous and reliable is a relief.
They also spoke about the tremendous zechus of doing bikur cholim, being it is the only mitzvah that one gets a reward for in this world and the world to come. Mrs. Brikman related that the interesting point that Hashem sent angels to inform Avraham that he plans to destroy Sodom; He likewise sent angels to inform Avraham that he will have a child. But after Avraham’s bris, when he was unwell and suffering, Hashem appeared to Avraham himself. Such is the enormity of the mitzvah of bikur cholim.
Rochie Korolitzky, Bikur Cholim board member, outlined how the services offered are carefully designed to meet the particular needs of each specific family. The patient profiles vary tremendously, coming from all different ages, from infancy to elderly; some are the breadwinners of the family and are no longer able to work while some are the primary caretakers of the home and are no longer able to care for the children and basic household needs; sometimes the parents of adult patients call after having exhausted their financial resources trying to help their children’s family; other times it’s the young siblings who end up getting overlooked and need extra attention.
In every unique case Bikur Cholim zeroes in on the individual needs of that family and puts together a service plan to help the family specifically in the best way possible. Bikur Cholim also works closely with other relief organizations such as Chai Lifeline, RCCS, Zichron Shlomo and others to make sure all the bases are covered. A typical family receives all kinds of services ranging from regulars meals and rides, to financial help, to babysitting and tutoring, even sometimes sponsoring and organizing a family simcha or sending a child away for camp.
Bikur Cholim’s volunteers can be found assisting patients from 4:00 am, rushing to meet the doctors starting rounds at 6:00, till midnight and later, staying up with a patient who is in pain and cannot sleep.
Everyone who spoke consistently pointed out how unique Bikur Cholim of Crown Heights is in that it is a distinctly personal organization, run by women from the community helping their very own neighbors, friends, and treating every person like family.
Critical illness is always terribly trying, and Bikur Cholim is equipped to offer services to help a family weather a temporary crisis, be it when a baby is born prematurely, or after an accident, or while a family member is in the hospital. But most of these situations are temporary and end within a matter of time. A cancer case, however, requires ongoing and intensive support that volunteers alone cannot provide.
In organizing help for a cancer family, Bikur Cholim first exhausts its considerable volunteer resources and then adds a huge amount of paid support. With unfortunately so many families in Crown Heights dealing with cancer, Bikur Cholim relies on the community’s generous donations to be able to continue helping the cancer patients.
Bikur Cholim would like to thank the evening’s hostesses for staging the beautiful event: Estee Lieblich, Rivky Diamont & Devorah Bukiet of Belle Events, Chani Lieblich of Cravings & Rochel Wuensch, as well as the raffle prize sponsors: Mink Jewels, Elite Sterling, The Silverspoon, Sterling Electronics, Hamafitz and Merkas Stam.
Bikur Cholim is so grateful for the daily assistance and support provided by its volunteers, but without necessary funds they cannot continue operating on the large scale that cancer cases require. To contribute to this cause, please visit www.bikurcholimCH.org or call 718-467-1661.